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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Maineiac Outdoors with Carey Kish
Posted: January 2, 2014

Bowled over where the mountains meet the sea

Skiing at Camden Snow Bowl can be habit forming anytime, it being one of the prettiest spots on the planet. Especially so on a gorgeous blue bird but rather icy cold New Year’s Day, my second in a row “where the mountains meet the sea.”

I hadn’t even set my skis and poles in the rack out front of the base lodge when I was accosted by one John Christie, outdoors witer and colleague, Maine skiing legend and yarn spinner extraordinaire, who greeted me with a big smile and a bear hug. And a story, of course, which went something like this…

I was down to the convenience store yesterday evening – New Year’s Eve – to put $2.50 in the pickup that I’d gotten out of the pickle jar on the shelf back of the woodstove when I ran into Bertie making her way to the door. Bert, I says, whatcha doing for New Year’s, something special? Says Bert: Yep, figured I’d get the husband and me a couple a six-packs and set home by the fire and listen to the scanner.”

Once inside we found folks about the cozy A-frame lodge but not many, it being the morning after and all. The snack bar makes the best hot chocolate, perhaps because they leave a container of whole milk out for fixing it up, and my wife and I enjoyed a cup while we changed into ski gear.

Crowd-wise overall, the slopes were pretty empty until early afternoon, when the teenagers started to arrive as well as the late night revelers, but by then we’d gotten plenty of skiing in, so waiting a bit in line was no biggie.

The T-bar to the top was operating when we arrived, but we chose the double chair for our first few runs. And by the time we made our way over to the T it was closed. Mechanical problems I heard. The T gets you high on Ragged Mountain and all 850 feet of vertical. The double brings you up just a little shy so it was no big deal.

Just about all the trails were open except for the upper part of Mussel Ridge, where they were blowing some serious snow in order to fill it in for the winter.

About half the trails were groomed; some of the remaining ungroomed trails made for some occasionally eventful skiing over some washboard stuff here and there. The top got scraped kind of quick, but just below and the rest of the way down to the base it was pretty darn nice under ski. No complaints, all good.

But then, skiing with a view of Mt. Megunticook and out to Penobscot Bay is pretty much always good. The natural beauty, the quaint charm of the lodge, the old lifts and the winding trails, the local feel and friendly folks, it all adds up to a terrific skiing experience.

Another big storm is pushing through our way with the brunt of it looking to drop along the coast, so conditions at Camden Snow Bowl will get even better quick-like, especially in the glades.

Night skiing has started, and the mountain is now open Wednesday through Sunday from 10-8.

There’s plenty else to do (or will be soon) in addition to downhill skiing. The snowshoe trails are open, and the tubing hill is expected to be in operation this weekend. The Nordic trails are open and groomed. There should be skating out on Hosmer Pond real soon. No word on when the toboggan chute will open, but I bet it won’t be long. And don’t forget about the U.S. National Toboggan Championships on coming February 7-9. Always a fun time!

Some big, very exciting changes are afoot for the Camden Snow Bowl over the next couple of years. I caught up with Landon Fake, the new general manager, to get the skinny on all the great improvements on the horizon, and I’ll cover that conversation in a future post.

Until then, get all the latest and greatest Camden Snow Bowl info here. Enjoy!

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